Abhinav Chauhan has a question for the CarToq community: Which is better –  a 3-cylinder or a 4-cylinder engine…?

question of the day

This is a discussion we hear about often – there are people who insist that four cylinders are better than three cylinders for cars. We are used to 3-cylinder cars in India. Cars like the Alto have been popular in India for a long time, and even now some small cars like the Alto and premium hatchbacks like the Volkswagen Polo come with 3-cylinder engines.

The common belief is that a 4-cylinder car is smoother than a 3-cylinder car. But this is not always an accurate statement. The Volkswagen Polo petrol is generally considered a high quality car. The 3-cylinder K series engine of the Maruti A-Star is also supposed to be quite smooth.

Then there is also the important question of mileage. Which type of engine offers better fuel efficiency?

This seems to be a case where your experiences can help the community learn a lot.

How well does the engine of your three-cylinder or four-cylinder car perform? Do you own a 3-cylinder car and prefer it over a 4-cylinder car, or is it that you own a four-cylinder car and find it much better than 3-cylinder cars you have driven? Do tell us your experiences and views in the comments.


  1. ?@Nakul – You are right dude….VW ppl are not fools to give out a 3 cyl when others give out 4 cyl…..

  2. @ parag . . . Bro u r driving a vw polo and its 1 of the bestest in its segment. . . Same with fabia also using a 3 cyl engine. . . Vw r concentrating on performance nt on pwr nd mileage. . . They hv launched 1.6 petrol fr pwr lving prsns . . .so u be calm nd drive ur polo . . Bcs its a solid build. . . . .

  3. prefer 3 cylinder coz……..for 3 cylindr produce same outpt powr as 4 cylinder do……bt d diff is tat….d 4 cylinder cn do it at lower RPM…..weraz 3 cylindr cannt……but wen cmpared to 4 cylinder….one wid 3cylinder is more fuel efficient……..

  4. I own a WagonR for the past 6 years. And one of my relatives bought the new K series WagonR last year. I can find my car(4 cylinder) extremely smooth at all engine RPMs while the almost new car has high engine noise. Engine screams once it crosses 3K rpm and the sound of the engine is not as healthy as my car’s engine. I have not tried out POLO yet. But this is my practical true experience. I stil

  5. 4 cylinder engines need a heavier flywheel to compensate for the bigger crankshaft. heavier the flywheel, smoother the engine though it a;so means it will rev a bit slower and a bit less.

  6. one strong benefit of 3 cyl. over same capacity 4 cyl engine is that pistons and cylinders are 25% more stronger. Increase the numbers of cylinders and engine noise gets smoother, that’s why high end luxury cars have more numbers of cylinders like 6, 8, 12 etc. notice how the Tata Nano engine sounds, like a scooter because its 2 cyl. I have a 3 cyl. POLO diesel, engine sound is coarser, one can fe

  7. Just test drive both cars back to back same day and judge yourself, everyone has different taste. Huge majority likes Swift diesel whether I preferred Polo diesel because its of my liking. Only engine is not a car, there are various other aspects also equally valuable. Swift is well known for last 6 years but POLO’s strong point is its mature behavior and handling on roads at specially at high spe

  8. 3 Cylinders mean I am Cooking Good Food & I am economic and 4 Cylinder means I have to many Guests But happiness Is Spreading…It’s Not a Joke…Actually to be precise..

    I will Show You how You Can Apply With a Car? The Cylinder Theorem..

    A/Q —> 3 Cylinder = 1->1->1< -> POO(Point of Occurrence) = Less Gap power & Distance….Engine Stay idle at equilibrium points and State…Means Less Power B

  9. Guys….bt as we knw in india the fuel efficiency comes alwz first den ant othr topics of power. Here 3 cylinders cars r really gud gng coz fuel efficiency. 4 cylinders hav power at low rpm’s bt here we hav a very less space to show car power. Dats why 3 cylinders r winng battle frm pretty long time.

  10. I think it depends on the configuration of the car well having a three cylinder car gives good mileage at low rpm but, it needs to be revved harder at higher speeds also the gear ratios in three cylinder cars like the alto is apt for city conditions but driving on highways is a bit sluggish! however it is the opposite in four cylinder cars which like to be revved to higher rpms! But at the end it

  11. are you planning to buy new car? Which are in your mind? I can only say that an engine is not only the car, there are many other aspects.

  12. Pankaj Purohit .Yes iam looking for a new car. i am bit confused whether to go with Hyundai EON( 3 cylinder) or spark( 4 cylinder). i cant cross the budget of more than approx, 4lakhs. and obviously mileage matters much in these days..

  13. Sreeram Cr – I think both are good car, EON is relatively new and there is no side effect of 3 cyl as people keep crying about that, even AC of EON is best in the class and the most chiller where as Spark looks pretty sleek but its known as well built most robust car in this segment, just select by your preference, what you would like to prefer the most in your new car.

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